There are some who will attempt to discredit the Checks and Balances in Government Initiative by dismissing it as an exercise in ideology. This is folly. This is about real issues. This Initiative is about the strict construction of the 10th Amendment.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, a conservative or a liberal, at some point the federal government’s usurpation of Arizona’s constitutional powers or yours has resulted in some federal action you strongly disagree with. Today we will look at two in particular.
The Affordable Care Act(ACA) of 2010 represents an impermissible imposition upon Arizona’s constitutional right to regulate health care within its borders while the federal mandate for most citizens to purchase health insurance stands as an impermissible imposition upon Arizona’s citizens’ constitutional right to make their own decisions, right or wrong.
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 federalized elementary and secondary education and further eroded state and local control. Many have argued that the federal government has no constitutional authority with regard to education. This is bolstered by the fact that participation in NCLB is “technically” optional. States who do not wish to comply with NCLB can refuse to participate and refuse the federal funds attached to it.
The Affordable Care Act was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on constitutionally questionable grounds. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, did strike down one particular mandate: the Medicaid Expansion. Under the ACA, Medicaid was to be expanded to include millions more Americans. The states were to implement this with the federal government paying 100% of the costs initially, and ultimately, 90% of the costs of this expansion. The catch: Any state who refused to expand their Medicaid programs pursuant to federal law risked losing all Medicaid funds. On this point, the Supreme Court had this to say:
“Section 1396c gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to penalize States that choose not to participate in the Medicaid expansion by taking away their existing Medicaid funding. 42 U. S. C. §1396c. The threatened loss of over 10 percent of a State’s overall budget is economic dragooning that leaves the States with no real option but to acquiesce in the Medicaid expansion.”
In other words, the federal government says it is optional; but, in reality, states have no real option.
The 10th Amendment was designed to limit “one-size-fits-all” centralized government. It is worth pointing out that, with respect to No Child Left Behind, Arizona applied for—and was granted, a waiver from the sanctions of NCLB, and as a result, regained local control over how best to improve education for Arizona’s children. Arizona already has in place a system of reforms, and it should be allowed to pursue them unfettered by unnecessary federal interference, and that is our right.
Join the fight for the Checks and Balances initiative, which simply allows the state to check against unconstitutional actions committed by the federal government.